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For Trump, Just Another Turbulent, Free-Wheeling Weekend

It was a weekend full of Cabinet hints, Twitter feuds and policy controversies — in another words, typical Donald Trump.
Image: Trump in Bedminster, NJ
President-elect Donald Trump outside the main clubhouse Sunday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.Mike Segar / Reuters

Cabinet hints, Twitter feuds, policy controversies — it was just another weekend for Donald Trump.

In true Trump fashion, the president-elect said Sunday after two marathon days of meetings with potential White House staff and Cabinet picks that he's "made a couple of deals" when it comes to his administration.

With the media gathered outside his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump was asked whether he planned to announce any appointments.

"We made a couple of deals, but we'll let you know soon," he said, adding that it was "pretty true" that he'd offered spots in his administration and that the offers had been accepted.

Trump's advisers were working late into the evening, with a top adviser saying the team was still in meetings as the clock neared 9 p.m. ET. It was a "very" productive day, the adviser said, the transition work was "still going."

"Things [are] on track," the adviser added, adding that Trump's team was "giving him multiple options."

The long day of work would yield "another huge day tomorrow," the source said, although there was no word on whether any announcements were due.

But the president-elect's penchant for self-created controversy dogged even the good news of his meeting with former foe Mitt Romney and possible progress in filling out his Cabinet.

Questions continue to swirl around the roles planned for his children in the White House, with Ivanka Trump's appearance at the president-elect's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week raising eyebrows.

That's in addition to the unclear roles for Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, with the former gunning publicly for secretary of state and the latter in limbo following what sources have described as an ongoing feud with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Trump didn't answer a shouted question from NBC News about whether Christie, the governor of New Jersey, had a place in his administration, offering only: "Very talented man. Great guy."

And he seemed to hint that Giuliani wasn't a lock for secretary of state, which the former New York mayor has clearly stated as his preference. Asked by NBC News whether Giuliani was a candidate to lead the State Department, Trump nodded but said: "And other things. And other things."

Trump veered off-message over the weekend with multiple tweets attacking the popular musical "Hamilton" after Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed while watching the show and then lectured by a member of the cast.

"The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior," Trump tweeted just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Later Sunday, he again attacked the cast when asked about the incident by reporters. "They were very inappropriate," he said.

The cast of "Hamilton" wasn't the only thing that drew Trump's Twitter ire over the weekend, however. He also attacked NBC's "Saturday Night Live," which lampooned him again, as a "totally one-sided, biased show — nothing funny at all."

And he fired off two tweets lamenting that he "did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U," drawing attention to the $25 million settlement reached in the lawsuit against his for-profit real estate school.

Meanwhile, unanswered questions about Trump's biggest policy controversies posed headaches for his top deputy Sunday. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that while the Trump administration isn't planning to create a Muslim registry, "I'm not going to rule out anything."

Priebus later told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on "This Week" that Trump and retired Gen. Michael Flynn — whom Trump has named as his national security adviser — are "in line" on Flynn's belief, stated over the summer, that "Islam is not a real religion, but a political ideology masked behind a religion."

"I mean, look, phrasing can always be done differently, but clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic," Priebus said. "And we know them."

That follows blowback over Trump's initial administration picks, at least two of whom — Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama for attorney general — have faced criticism over controversial comments about minorities.

Related: Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Mike Pompeo: Meet Trump's Latest Top Picks

But Trump could refocus the narrative this week with a Cabinet announcement or two, as many of the names and faces that went through Trump's Bedminster golf club over the weekend represent some of the GOP's freshest faces and most prominent thinkers.

For example, Trump held a brief meeting Saturday with former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, a conservative rising star and former Senate candidate.

Bob Woodson, an adviser to House Speaker Paul Ryan on anti-poverty policy, met Saturday with Trump and said he's in the mix to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

And Trump's aides said he had an "impressive conversation" that night with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the founder of two drug companies, about ideas for "innovation in medicine."

Trump tweeted Sunday that he's considering retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, "a true General's General" with whom he met Saturday, for defense secretary.

Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts confirmed to NBC News that he had spoken to Trump about serving as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Brown said Trump told him "he was giving his team his highest recommendation."

And Monday, Trump will meet with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's reportedly considered a contender to lead the Energy Department.